ATLAS Program Application



ATLAS Academy Program

2018-2019 Application for Admission

Submit by February 15, 2018


Programa de ATLAS

2017-2018 Aplicación para admisión

Enviar antes del 15 de febrero de 2018

The Enrollment Window is CLOSED

Frequently Asked Questions about ATLAS Academy

Q: How is the ATLAS Academy different than what is currently offered for my child?

A: The ATLAS Academy provides gifted students with accelerated learning, compacted curriculum, and interesting field experiences. The compacted curriculum allows students an opportunity to study unique topics and to develop college readiness skills in an environment that supports and challenges them daily.

Students have opportunities to use technology through interactive lessons, online discussion groups, and independent study.

Students in the ATLAS Academy have the opportunity to accelerate through concepts in a unit of study to explore the concepts being studied at a much deeper level than the typical classroom environment would allow.

Students in the ATLAS Academy participate in “mini-courses” that focus on skills that prepare them for the “global” world in which they live and enable them to participate in independent studies with mentors to produce professional-level products that are evaluated by outside experts in the particular field of study. Academy students are given the ability to suggest topics for mini-courses.

Students in the ATLAS Academy interact with their intellectual peers in all core classes. Students in the ATLAS Academy will receive support in dealing with giftedness, asynchrony, perfectionism, friendship development, stress, and time management.

Q: Where is ATLAS Academy?

A:  The Academy is located within Tennyson Middle School.

Q: Is transportation be available?

A:  Transportation is available from your child’s home campus.

Q: Can my child participate in co-curricular activities?

A:  Your child can participate in the same co-curricular activities as the other Tennyson MS students.

Q:  Is my child required to take additional testing?

A:   No. Students already identified as GT in Waco ISD can apply for the ATLAS Academy without additional testing.

Q:  Does my child need a teacher recommendation to apply to ATLAS?

A:  Yes, refer to the ATLAS Application for more information.

Q: What are “mini-courses”?

A: Mini-courses are interest-based courses that are developed by the ATLAS Academy teachers based on student or teacher interest. The purpose of these mini-courses is to give ATLAS Academy students the opportunity to explore a variety of topics that might spur new interests or satiate passions of the students. It is not uncommon for a student to find a new interest within a mini-course and then utilize this topic for further independent study under the supervision of a mentor.

ATLAS Academy students must participate in mini-courses or complete a research project in the co-curricular course.

Q: Does a student need to re-apply to ATLAS each year?

A: No. Once the student has selected the ATLAS Academy and is successful in the academy, he/she remains in the academy. 

Q: What if we accept to attend ATLAS, and then decline? Can we return to our home campus?

A: Yes.  All accepted students are expected to complete at least one year of the program before returning to their home campuses. Transition between schools can be stressful for students; therefore, it is not in students’ best interests to change schools frequently.

Q: How are the teachers chosen?

A: Teaching positions for the ATLAS Academy are posted on the Waco ISD website in accordance with Waco ISD’s Human Resource Services policies and procedures. All qualified applicants both in Waco ISD and outside of the district may apply for posted teaching positions.

At a minimum, teacher applicants must have the required certification to teach at the middle school level in their specified content area as well as have obtained the 30 hours of GT training as required by Texas law (19 TAC§ 89.2 (1)).

Once a pool of applicants has been established, qualified applicants are interviewed by a selection committee (typically including the campus principal and a representative from the department of Advanced Academics) and recommended for hire per Waco ISD Human Resource Services protocol.

Q: Do ATLAS students participate in field trips?

A: Students participate in field trips; these are considered a critical part of the curriculum.

Q: Do ATLAS Academy students have classes with non-ATLAS Academy students?

A: Yes, depending on the schedule created at the school and the electives selected by the students. Students may have elective classes and lunch with non-academy students.

Q: Will ATLAS Academy cause my child to have MORE homework than other GT students in Waco ISD?

A: Gifted children have many interests; therefore, the intent of homework is to either extend or enrich classroom learning. Students at the Academy should have about the same amount of homework as other students throughout the district who are at the same grade level; in some cases, students may have less homework.

Q: Doesn’t this program develop an elitist attitude among students and families?

A: ATLAS Academy provides students with an exceptional learning and appropriately challenging education. Contrary to popular belief, when the gifted are placed in classes together, they do not conclude that they are better than everyone else. Rather, they are typically humbled by peers who know more than they do. All efforts are made to ensure students, families, and the community that this academy is about “educational need” not “better treatment.”

Selection Process

The ACCELERATE Early Degree Program selection committee will be comprised of a group of educators and administrators who will meet at the beginning of February to review the applications of students interested in participation in the program. Students will be chosen to ensure that the group of participants accurately reflect the demographics of Waco Independent School District as a whole.

Students selected to participate in ACCELERATE agree to attend the MANDATORY two-week orientation in June, 2017, that will be designed to provide students with information related, but not limited to, the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), associate degree plans, sequence of courses, grade point average information, counseling, and academic support services.

In addition, ACCELERATE staff will also provide an orientation, both in English and Spanish, for the parents of the selected students with information on the ACCELERATE program, its services, its requirements, and its benefits..


Proceso de selección

El Comité de Selección del Programa de Early Degree (ACELERAR)  estará compuesto por un grupo de educadores y administradores que se reunirán a principios de febrero para revisar las solicitudes de los estudiantes interesados en participar en el programa. Los estudiantes serán escogidos para asegurar que el grupo de participantes refleje con precisión la demografía del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Waco como un todo.

Los estudiantes seleccionados para participar en ACCELERATE acuerdan asistir a la orientación OBLIGATORIA de dos semanas en junio de 2017, que estará diseñada para proveer a los estudiantes con información relacionada, pero no limitado a, la Iniciativa de Éxito de Texas (TSI), planes de grado asociado, secuencia de Cursos, información promedio de calificaciones, consejería y servicios de apoyo académico.

Además, el personal de ACCELERATE también proporcionará una orientación, tanto en inglés como en español, a los padres de los estudiantes seleccionados con información sobre el programa ACCELERATE, sus servicios, sus requisitos y sus beneficios.